Danny Cowley's simple wish as Portsmouth prepare to welcome back fans
Danny Cowley hopes Pompey fans will see a team they can ‘connect with and be proud of’ when they make their long-awaited return to match days.
On Monday, the government advised that sporting venues, including Fratton Park, would be able to return to full capacity from July 19 because of the success of the Covid vaccination roll-out.
A final decision will be made at the start of next week, allowing fans to return to PO4 in time for the start of the 2021-22 League One season.
Before that, though, the Blues return to action against the Hawks at Westleigh Park on Saturday (3pm).
The friendly represents Pompey’s first game since Accrington ended their Championship promotion hopes on the final day of last term.
It also provides an opportunity for supporters to be in attendance, with 3,250 expected to be allowed in to watch the Blues under Cowley’s leadership for the first time.
Supporters will see a much-changed set-up since the last time they were allowed to cheer on their side.
Cowley is currently overseeing an overhaul of his squad, with a mass exodus of players accompanied by a recruitment drive that so far totals five new signings.
That process will continue until the close of the transfer window on August 31.
In the meantime, the Pompey boss hopes fans who will be out in force on Saturday quickly recognise a team that will be battling for them week in, week out during the season ahead.
Welcoming fans back, Cowley told The News: ‘It sounds like there was has been some good news from the government in terms of next season.
‘I don't know if it’s official yet but it certainly looks like we're heading in the right direction and everybody knows the importance of the supporters here to this football club.
‘I don’t think there's a team in League One that missed their supporters as much as Portsmouth last year.
‘I've met a lot of them in the streets and had some really good conversations.
‘Some of them have been down to watch training, which has been great, have had a few conversations with those guys.
‘But to see people at Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday will be just brilliant and hopefully they'll see a team that is working really, really hard and that they can connect with and be proud of.’